Tag Archive | "SYLP"

Tomorrow’s leaders today

Tomorrow’s leaders today

http://nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/32_37/sylp_cindy.jpg

SYLP Class of 2013 during a field trip to the Wing Luke (Photo from SYLP)

The Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation’s Summer Youth Leadership Program started on June 23 and will run until July 10. This program is an all expenses-paid program designed for high school youths and college freshmen that aims to develop leadership and communication skills. Participants have a chance to meet Asian American role models and leaders, discover Asian community resources, and build friendships with youths from other parts of the Puget Sound area. This year’s coordinator is Marvin Eng. (end)

Posted in Names in the News, Vol 33 No 27 | 6/28-7/4Comments (0)

Learn how to be a leader

Learn how to be a leader

By Ivy Wong

http://sylp.nwasianweeklyfoundation.org/wp-content/themes/shell-lite/images/featured-image.jpg

A previous SYLP class

If you asked someone what you should spend $50 on this summer, they might suggest buying that new video game that recently came out or a cute pair of shoes. They might recommend buying tickets for a concert or movie. Or they might joke about buying as much candy as you can. There’s an infinite number of possibilities of what you can do with $50.
If you asked me, I would tell you to use that money to apply for the Summer Youth Leadership Program.

The Summer Youth Leadership Program, fondly called SYLP by past participants, is an unforgettable and unique program organized by the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation. Created in 1995, SYLP is an annual three-week summer program that helps students develop leadership and communication skills. Unlike other leadership programs, SYLP gives students the chance to meet with Asian American role models and leaders in our community. The program gives students a chance to explore Seattle’s International District and surrounding areas, and discover Asian community resources. The free lunches and scholarship opportunity provided are just added bonuses to what SYLP already offers you.

Many times have I heard the misconception that SYLP is just like school because the program goes from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. That cannot be further from the truth. When you are in this program, you are doing more than just sitting there and taking notes like you do in school. One day, you might be learning about Asian American stereotypes in the media and how to dance to “Wedding Dress” by Taeyang. On another day, you might be meeting with news anchor Lori Matsukawa at KING or spoken word artist Troy Osaki and hear how they got to where they are today. You could be hearing from executive director of Scholarship Junkies Samson Lim and community activist Bob Santos about their stories on perseverance and success. You are being inspired to pursue and find your passions no matter what they may be. You are networking with both professionals and other students. You are looking at your identity and heritage in a new perspective. You are forming lifelong friendships with other students across the Puget Sound area. When you get home, you are not tired from having done class work or waking up early — you’re tired because of how much fun you had.

I joined SYLP in 2011 after my mom saw the program being advertised in the Northwest Asian Weekly. Having nothing better to do that summer, I agreed to participate and filled out the application. In three weeks, I made more progress on developing my skills thanks to the approach and supportive environment SYLP provides. From someone who always shied away from roles that required having to be in front of other people, I surprised myself in volunteering to play the piano during the talent show.

To some, this might seem insignificant, but my stage fright and shyness correlates heavily with my avoidance to leadership roles. A few days in SYLP motivated me to take that first crucial step in stepping out of my comfort zone. Since I took that first step, I have been gradually volunteering for and accepting opportunities, even if they scare me. In fact, writing this article is a bit out of my comfort zone. SYLP gives everybody, no matter how quiet or loud, the chance to grow. This is why applying for SYLP is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Since graduating the program, I, along with many others, have volunteered to come back every summer to mentor. We want the new participants to get as much out of the program as we did. From when I was a participant in 2011, to the past two years I mentored, I have yet to meet a participant who regretted taking part in SYLP, even if their parents were the ones to have signed them up in the first place. Each year, strong bonds are formed between all the participants. The students identified themselves as a family by the time the three weeks have ended. They always ask why the program is not for a longer period, for they could not believe that three weeks flew by.

This year, the program runs from June 23 to July 10. Applications are due June 6, and I strongly encourage any of you that are free those weeks to apply. For $50, SYLP is worth every penny and more, for it will be an experience that you will never forget. (end)

Ivy Wong is a student at UW, majoring in informatics and computer science.

Posted in Education, Vol 33 No 22 | 5/24-5/30Comments (0)

Youthful voice: “Thoughts on the SODO Stadium Proposal”

Youthful voice: “Thoughts on the SODO Stadium Proposal”

By Tyler Nguyen
SYLP STUDENT

Tyler Nguyen

It’s easy to fantasize about putting yet another major landmark in Seattle. Take for example the proposed arena, where Seattleites could watch their returning team, the beloved SuperSonics, along with the city’s first professional NHL team. But this is easier said than done.

Thinking about all the complications that this new arena could cause — traffic jams, backing up the ports in the SODO area, and leaving behind an empty building we knew as the Key Arena — it begins to not sound like such a great idea, after all.

Still, San Francisco hedge fund manager and former Seattle resident Chris Hansen is convinced that the Sonics need to come back. He went back to his roots and explained why he believes Seattle needs to bring the Sonics back.

Back in 2008, Chris Hansen played a small part in an investor group headed by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to try and keep the SuperSonics from leaving Seattle. As you can see, their efforts were not good enough, as the Sonics left for Oklahoma.

In 2010, Hansen started to look for ideal places to put a new arena. He started with the Key Arena, but soon decided that it would not be viable. It was too small of a building to host a hockey arena and if they were to rebuild the building, it would cut into streets and also turn a very popular location, the Seattle Science Center, into a huge construction site for years to come. After considering that, Hansen considered other sites by the Bellevue area until coming to a decision that the SODO area would be the perfect place to build an arena.

Before jumping into the new project, Hansen asked city council members for some financial help. They were not pleased by the request. His reasoning was that not only would it make this assignment financially successful, the arena would also give back to the city and county. After persuading the city and county, they agreed to give out a loan of $200 million dollars. The city would give $120 million and the county would give $80 million, if Hansen can get an NBA and NHL team to Seattle.

If they are only able to get an NBA team, the city would loan $120 million and the county would only give $5 million and the $75 million is left for Hansen to pay for the new building. Hansen estimated that after the arena is finished, it would be worth about $375 million dollars. So the city would be receiving a $375 million dollar arena that they only paid $200 million for and the city would be paid back the $200 million, plus interest from the tax on the stadium, the venue, and the event tickets.

All in all, this project, which some perceive as a very monstrous idea for the city, may turn out to be a win-win situation. (end)

 Editor’s note: This story was written by a Summer Youth Leadership Program student, not a Northwest Asian Weekly staff member. 

Posted in Vol 31 No 35 | 8/25-8/31Comments (0)

Youthful voice: “A look into this year’s Olympics”

Youthful voice: “A look into this year’s Olympics”

By Karena Tien
SYLP STUDENT

Karena Tien

The Summer Olympic Games have been around since the 1896 Games in Athens, Greece. Since then, the United States have won a total of 929 gold medals, while China has only won a total of 163 gold medals. Though China received the most gold medals in the 2008 Summer Olympics, the total amount is still far from the amount of medals received by the United States.

This year, the Summer Olympics was held in London. It was scheduled to run from July 27 to Aug. 12. London was selected to be the host city of the Olympics on July 6, 2005 at the IOC (International Olympic Committee) Session. During the IOC session, London was up against Moscow, New York City, Madrid, and Paris. This will also be the first time that the Olympics have been held in the same city three times. London hosted the 1908 and the 1948 Olympic Games.

The three venues that were renamed for the Olympic Games are the O2 Arena, also referred to as the North Greenwich Arena, the Sports Direct Arena or St James’ Park, and the Ricoh Arena, known as the City of Coventry Stadium.
In the past few months, London has upgraded and improved many of its services. They improved their transportation system to ensure that all of

{see TIEN cont’d on page 13}
{TIEN cont’d from page 11}

the athletes are at their events 20 to 30 minutes early. London has also increased their defense force with six missile sites to protect the athletes and others.
As of June 21, the athletes started competing for their respective spots in the Olympics. It started off with track and field events and ended with the finals for swimming. One of the top competitors for swimming was Michael Phelps. Phelps competed in seven events, and was three gold medals away from breaking a world record of having the most gold medals.
Another top swimmer and fan favorite is Missy Franklin. Missy Franklin is a 17-year-old and was one of the younger athletes to compete in four individual and two relay events. Many younger athletes took the stage and colored the Olympic events with their varied personalities and athletic skill. The 2012 Olympic Games was another event to remember. 

Posted in Vol 31 No 35 | 8/25-8/31Comments (0)

Youthful voice: “Remembering the Sjoeupersonics”

Youthful voice: “Remembering the Sjoeupersonics”

By Joe Wong
SYLP STUDENT

Joe Wong

The Seattle SuperSonics were ripped away from the Seattle after the 2008 season and taken to Oklahoma City by owner Clay Bennett. Christopher Hansen, a wealthy San Francisco hedge fund manager, made progress to acquire land in the Sodo neighborhood with the hope of building a multi-purpose arena that would be home to a professional basketball and hockey team. The arena is estimated to cost $500 million, with $300 million being paid by Hansen and his group. The Sonics were the only Seattle sports team to win a major championship title in Seattle and was the first of the three major sports teams to be founded.

Remember the successful years of the Sonics in the 1970s and early 1990s? In the 1970s, the Sonics won their first and only NBA championship. In the 1990s, the team was one of the best led by Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp. Even though the Sonics had fallen into mediocrity at the turn of the century, we still loved them. They stood out as the only major sports team in Seattle to win a major championship.

The Sonics were founded on December 20, 1966, by businessmen Sam Schulman and Eugene V. Klein. The team was named the SuperSonics after Boeing was awarded a contract for the SST project. The Sonics’ first season was abysmal as they finished with a 23-59 record. In the 1966 offseason, Lenny Wilkens was traded to the Sonics and he brought a great all around game. But, the Sonics only won 30 games.

In 1972, the Sonics had their first winning season led by Lenny Wilkens and Spencer Haywood. In 1975, legendary Bill Russell was hired as head coach and he coached the Sonics to the playoffs for the first time. They beat Detroit in the playoffs, but eventually fell to the champion Golden State Warriors. The Sonics made the playoffs again, but lost to the Phoenix Suns.

The 1978-79 season is the most memorable as the Sonics won their first division title and went on to give Seattle its first and only NBA championship.

The 1980s did not produce as many highlights, but was still exciting. The Sonics made it to the Western Conference Finals two times in the 1980s.

In 1983, Sam Schulman sold the SuperSonics to Barry Ackerly. Throughout the 1980s, the Sonics weren’t great, but managed to make several playoff appearances and remained respectable throughout the decade.

The Payton-Kemp era began in 1989 when the Sonics drafted Shawn Kemp. The Sonics drafted Gary Payton the year after. The arrival of George Karl as head coach in 1992 marked the resurgence of the Sonics. They finished the 1992-93 season with a 55-27 record and in the 1993-94 season, had the best record in the NBA at 63-19. However, they lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Denver Nuggets. The 1995-96 roster was arguably the best as the Sonics set a franchise best 64-18 record, but lost to Michael Jordan’s Bulls in the NBA Finals. The Sonics continued to be a powerhouse in the Western Conference, but Nate McMillan retired at the end of the 1997-98 season and George Karl left.

After 1998, the team was marked by mediocrity and the Sonics eventually left Seattle. The Seattle SuperSonics have a great history that needs to not be shared with a team in Oklahoma City. They do not have any resemblance to our former Sonics. Clay Bennett robbed us of our Sonics and Hansen is our chance to bring them back. (end)

Editor’s note: This story was written by a Summer Youth Leadership Program student, not a Northwest Asian Weekly staff member. 

Posted in Vol 31 No 35 | 8/25-8/31Comments (0)

Youthful voice: “How to intrinsically motivate yourself”

Youthful voice: “How to intrinsically motivate yourself”

By Jack Boyd
SYLP STUDENT

Jack Boyd

There are two types of motivation in the world. Intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is the drive that comes from within and is deeply connected with the individual’s values and beliefs.

A person who is intrinsically motivated towards a certain goal usually is for pure self-satisfaction. In my mind, intrinsic motivation is the most effective type of motivation, but we will touch on that subject later. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation comes forth when one tries to accomplish an unsatisfactory task for an external reward, such as money. With motivation, people can accomplish great feats in life, like the construction of cities to competing in the Olympics.

Every human being experiences moments where they have felt intrinsically and extrinsically motivated, some more than others. But a big question everyone wonders is how we can realize our goals in life, and how to stay motivated. I will tell you that the easiest and best way to motivate yourself to achieve a task is to connect it to your core values, know the enjoyment you’ll achieve, and recognize the benefits that can come from staying focused. Or, in other words, become intrinsically motivated towards your objective. The result is you will become truly happy and excited about going out to complete your goal, thus changing a once seemingly tedious task into more of an adventure or an experience.

You may be thinking, this is much easier said than done. However, I will tell you the easy steps you can take in order to become intrinsically motivated towards any task. Let’s say your task is cleaning out your gutters, which most people perceive as monotonous and troublesome (and if you’re a rare person who thoroughly enjoys cleaning out said gutters for its stimulating smell and texture, then I am humbly sorry for offending your passion).

The first step you want to take is to connect it to your core values, maybe you have strong values to work hard and keep organized in order to succeed. Second, imagine what kind of enjoyment you can obtain by cleaning the gutters. For example, the feeling of being outdoors, breathing in the crisp air with the cool fresh wind blowing against your face, while the warm sun covers you with its soft embrace. Thirdly, identify all the benefits that can transpire by you doing the gutters.

Maybe you have been meaning to clean the gutters for months and you never got around to it. Think of the relief and satisfaction you will get for removing that built up plant matter.

Another benefit may be conquering your fear of heights one small step at a time, or maybe you just want to get your tan on. If you can come up with ideas for these three steps, you can motivate yourself to start any task on your list. (end)

Editor’s note: This story was written by a Summer Youth Leadership Program student, not a Northwest Asian Weekly staff member. 

Posted in Vol 31 No 35 | 8/25-8/31Comments (0)

Youthful voice: “Web culture forces us to conform”

Youthful voice: “Web culture forces us to conform”

By Winnie Yu
SYLP STUDENT

Winnie Yu

Conformity is driven by one’s mentality to perform like the majority due to the fear of being alone in one’s thoughts and ideals. It portrays a sense of mob mentality, which is the tendency of people to act in unison. Conformity is reinforced through popular culture and pressure from society.

Mass media evaluates the latest trends in popular culture and propagates them through the Internet, magazines, and billboards. When one flips through a magazine, pages are filled with petite or muscular, seemingly impeccable models. Models and celebrities featured in the media seem to fit with the society’s ideals of perfection. Those who don’t qualify as physically “perfect” are implicitly judged by the majority, and so they are compelled to conform out of the fear of judgment. Even celebrities have admitted to struggling with body image in order to stay relevant.

Internet plays a large role in updating everyone on the latest news, but it also pushes out thousands of advertisements that portray products in an accentuated manner. The impact of Internet on people’s daily lives has increased, and people can’t seem to avoid the advertisements.

People are unaware of the amount of advertisements they are exposed to each day, and their messages are often subliminal. For example, people will often seek to improve their products even though the product may be in fine condition. They unconsciously draw comparisons between the products they own with the products they see in advertisements.

When they decide to purchase the product being promoted, they are, in essence, seeking conventionality because they are conjoining their preferences with everyone else’s.

Teenagers and young adults, in their efforts to be noticed and popular, seem to be drawn to advertisements featuring idealistically beautiful people. People fear exclusion and crave a sense of community and belonging. Individuals tend to fear standing alone because they feel powerless against the majority. Societal pressure accompanies the reinforcement of conformity. However, if unchecked, this tendency can lead to the degradation of individuality and ingenuity, two of humanity’s most important traits. (end)

Editor’s note: This story was written by a Summer Youth Leadership Program student, not a Northwest Asian Weekly staff member. 

Posted in Vol 31 No 35 | 8/25-8/31Comments (0)

Youthful voice: “Organic versus non-organic”

Youthful voice: “Organic versus non-organic”

By Brian Huynh
SYLP STUDENT

Brian Huynh

Since 1939, farmers across the world have been using pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides to protect their crops, increase their yield each year, and turn a profit. These pesticides are used on different kinds of plants, fruits, and vegetables. But within the last decade, an organic craze has swept the developed world. The question is: Is growing food organically better for the environment than growing food with pesticides?

When people think of pesticides, their thoughts migrate toward the negative impacts they have on the environment and the humans that consume them. The most infamous pesticide to date is DDT, an insecticide developed in the late 19th century by Dr. Paul Muller. DDT has been used as a pesticide in nearly all produce grown in the United States and around the world in the mid-20th century.

After extensive testing, DDT is said to have too great of a harm if consumed and is now only used in tropical areas of the world in order to control mosquito populations and the spread of malaria. Currently, new synthetic pesticides is said to have less of an effect on humans and the environment. They are being used to protect crops around the world.

There is no doubt that any type of pesticide, herbicide, or insecticide is harmful to the human body and the environment. On the other hand, if we were to convert to an organic agriculture on a global basis, much more land would be needed to grow as much food as we do today using pesticides. So much land would be used that urban and suburban areas would not be able to expand, taking away housing for millions. In addition, there wouldn’t be enough food to feed the world.

Norman Borlaug, winner of the Nobel Peace prize and developer of semi-dwarf, high-yield, disease-resistant wheat varieties, stated that if the world were to farm organically, only 4 billion people would be fed, leaving an additional 2 to 3 billion people starving to death.

Many people know surprisingly little about organic farming, but still support organic farmers with their wallets. One of the largest misconceptions is that if one buys organic food, they are supporting the smaller and local farmers. However, nowadays, most of the organic food is grown on large farms owned by large corporations.

In the United States, the USDA requires that the organic food produced be fertilized by natural fertilizers and have as minimal exposure to pesticide residue as possible. What is meant by this statement is that manure must be used as a fertilizer and that use of scant amounts of pesticides is still legal. Cow dung not only fertilizes the soil, but is also a breeding ground for viruses, including E. coli and Salmonella, not to mention that it releases methane, a gas 23 times more toxic than CO2. One notion states that organic produce tastes better than non-organic produce. But taste is purely subjective.

Additionally, the costs of organic produce may be 30 to 50 percent higher than that of its pesticide counterpart. Once all of the factors are weighed, the use of pesticides may be accepted by some non-believers, but are still shunned by many others. Whichever side one may take, today’s agriculture is one of man’s greatest achievements, though it can still be improved upon. (end)

Editor’s note: This story was written by a Summer Youth Leadership Program student, not a Northwest Asian Weekly staff member. 

Posted in Vol 31 No 35 | 8/25-8/31Comments (0)

Youthful voice: “Grossly delicious”

Youthful voice: “Grossly delicious”

By Jane Yuen
SYLP STUDENT

Jane Yuen

Dinner is served, and sea cucumber is the main course. You’re probably not thinking, “Mmm, delicious!” because, at least on first sight, this reddish, slug-like sea creature just does not look appetizing. However, it is a popular dish in Chinese cuisine. Asia is where you can find some of the most exotic foods in the world, ranging from deep fried grasshoppers to Indonesian bats.

Here is the top ten list of exotic foods that Asians eat:

Deep fried grasshoppers
At the heart of Bangkok’s streets, vendors sell what is known as deep fried grasshoppers. These crunchy insects range from caterpillars to hornets and ants. Whatever crawls or hops in Thailand might end up in the hands of hungry people, waiting to take a bite.

Balut
This boiled, fertilized duck embryo is quite crunchy and comes with a pleasant surprise in the middle: a partially formed fetus, accompanied with feathers, eyeballs, and a translucent skin. This strange egg can be found in the streets in Manila, where locals dip it in soy sauce and vinegar.

Dog meat
This dish is widely popular in southern China, mostly in the Guandong and Sichuan area, where dog meat is served in restaurants during the winter time. There are even places dedicated to only selling dog meat platters. There are also places in Beijing that advertise dog meat.

Turtle soup
Even though there are not many left in the world today, the Chinese believe that turtles are excellent for health and like to cook it in thick herbal soups. Modern Singaporeans love the thick texture and enjoy the herbal flavor.

Chicken feet
This well known dish is usually found at dim sum restaurants, where the chicken feet are served in a traditional style bamboo steamers. They are steamed until the skin becomes tender and the cartilage is chewy. They are infused with black bean sauce to provide a pleasant taste.

Rooster testicles
Rooster testicles are usually eaten by themselves, simple and plain. However, some ask for peppers and garlic to accompany it. With a plump texture and veins still intact, this dish is only suitable for daredevils. The interior has a soft tofu flavor and the skin is as tight as a sausage. It can be found in Taipei’s famous Snake Alley Market.

Chau Taufu or Stinky Tofu
This dish is stinky and can be smelled from miles away. Chau Taufu is fermented bean curd with an overwhelming stench. Despite the odor, locals love to take a bite out of this snack.

Isaw Manok
Barbecued chicken intestines, as well as other chicken organs, such as gizzards, liver, and heart, are national dishes in the Philippines and very popular among locals. Grilled on bamboo skewers, they are drizzled in sweet and spicy sauce and beautifully cooked.

Durians
This pungent smelling fruit has a prickly and spiky exterior. Its soft yellow interior is quite popular among Southeast Asians and has earned the crown of Southeast Asian fruits.

Bats
Smoked until crispy, these brown creatures are served in the Malioboro Street of Jakarta in Indonesia. It has a taste similar to beef jerky.
Locals love eating it, especially in fruit bat soup, where the bat is cooked in coconut milk. The meat on its feet and wings are especially savored.

Strange isn’t always a bad thing, and Asia is a place that has much to offer. Try something new, and who knows, maybe you’ll like it. (end)

Editor’s note: This story was written by a Summer Youth Leadership Program student, not a Northwest Asian Weekly staff member. 

Posted in Vol 31 No 35 | 8/25-8/31Comments (0)

Youthful voice: “Alone, together, on a bus”

Youthful voice: “Alone, together, on a bus”

By Jessica Tsang
SYLP STUDENT

Jessica Tsang

For the past two weeks, I have been riding on the King County Metro to and from the International District. I have never taken the bus by myself for such a long period of time, so I’ve had a lot of new experiences. From the first day, I started to notice some unspoken etiquette for riding public transit. There are minute differences in the customs — or habits, if you will — of riding the bus in the morning and riding it in the afternoon.

Sitting in the last row on the first day, it was hard not to notice the large number of people looking down. At what, you may ask? This brings us to my first rule: Everyone brings something to pass the time — a music player, book, crossword puzzle, phone. Some opt to drift in and out of sleep.
With this comes the second rule: Keep the silence. Not once have I heard a greeting shared between two strangers on the bus, much less a conversation. Because of these distracting devices, we are deprived of social contact. It takes two to have a conversation, after all, and if one is distracted, it just doesn’t work. I’ve tried to converse with multiple people, and only succeeded once (it was a short chat, at that). It is extremely difficult to try and talk to someone who has earbuds in their ears and their eyes glued to a phone.

Since when has it become socially acceptable to sit in silence with another person without acknowledging their presence? It may be awkward, but I believe that it shows at least some respect to your fellow neighbor. On the bus I take, there is a solid 20-minute travel without stops, which is enough time for a short conversation, and yet there are none.

It’s a vicious cycle that promotes being anti-social, living in a bubble of urban solitude, and being alone … together. (end)

Editor’s note: This story was written by a Summer Youth Leadership Program student, not a Northwest Asian Weekly staff member. 

Posted in Vol 31 No 35 | 8/25-8/31Comments (0)

Youthful voice: “International District: a treasured location in Seattle”

Youthful voice: “International District: a treasured location in Seattle”

By Luca Vaccarini
SYLP STUDENT

Luca Vaccarini

The city of Seattle not only stretches over a vast 143 square miles across the Puget Sound area, but is also the center of major businesses, cultures, and organizations. From the breathtaking sky scrapers, to the ferris wheel on the water front, Seattle is not only a center for businesses, but a city of endless possibilities and breathtaking creations.

The International District is easily recognizable by the tantalizing scents of dim sum, roasted pork, roasted duck, and structures of dragons throughout the area.

This diversity of the area lend to its complex and rich landscape. Whether its unique businesses like the fortune cookie factory or the Danny Wu Garden, and small bubble tea and dim sum shops, all are interest points that makes this community special.

Recently, I joined a program held inside the Asia Bush Center, known as the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation’s Summer Youth Leadership Program (SYLP). SYLP provided teenagers, including myself, with opportunities to learn about the diverse culture and history that the International District has to offer. We spent our weekdays exploring the International District and meeting successful Asian Americans who visited to share their stories. We ate at different restaurants every day to get a feel for the different types of cultures and foods that are in the area.

Throughout my entire experience, I learned that the International District isn’t just a place to get good food, it’s an area with a long history, filled with hard working individuals from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The International District is a place for Asian Americans to learn about other cultures, meet new people, and really connect with other Asian Americans. (end)

Editor’s note: This story was written by a Summer Youth Leadership Program student, not a Northwest Asian Weekly staff member. 

Posted in Vol 31 No 35 | 8/25-8/31Comments (0)

Youthful voice: “The ID: A once proud neighborhood now in need of saving”

Youthful voice: “The ID: A once proud neighborhood now in need of saving”

By Desmond Saisitthidej
SYLP STUDENT

Desmond Saisitthidej

Those who go to the International District (ID) on a regular basis know that tourists have become a regular sight. The ID was one of the strongest Asian American communities in the United States and has always been on the forefront of advancing the rights of Asian Americans. Since the ID’s foundation in 1910, generations of different Asian ethnic groups have populated the area.

Even though the ID is referred to by many as “Chinatown,” the Chinese were not the only people to inhabit the area. Immigrants included the Japanese, Filipinos, and Vietnamese. Seattle’s ID has also been the home to important historical landmarks to the Asian American community, such as the first Asian American owned business, the Wa Chong Co. Wa Chong Co. produced opium, a drug that devastated the Chinese population. Nevertheless, an Asian American owned business was unheard of in the 1860s.

The ID is also home to the Wing Luke Museum, dedicated to a former Asian American leader. Wing Luke was very influential in passing the Open Housing

Ordinance in 1963, which allowed people of color to sell, buy, or lease real estate without race being a factor.

The ID has strong community leaders and activists. One of the strongest political influences that the Asian American community has is with former governor of Washington, now ambassador to China, Gary Locke. Locke was born and raised as a Seattle native. Another important member of the community is Bob Santos, the “Feisty Defender of Chinatown.” His strong ties to the community earned him the moniker of “Uncle Bob.”

Currently, 10 percent of the businesses in Seattle are owned by Asian Americans, which is much higher than the national average. Despite this fact, the ID is not thriving as it once was, with stores and businesses in the ID decreasing at an alarming rate.

With the unstable economy and with banks tightening up on loans, it has become harder for businesses to stay open. There are few prominent figures left to defend the ID. With skyscrapers being built every few years just a few blocks away, it seems inevitable that the high-rises of downtown Seattle might slowly push into the ID. It is important to keep the charm and cultural heritage of the area, which can only happen if people continue to visit, shop, eat, and add life and merriment to the community. (end)

Editor’s note: This story was written by a Summer Youth Leadership Program student, not a Northwest Asian Weekly staff member. 

Posted in Vol 31 No 35 | 8/25-8/31Comments (0)

Youthful voice: “Spotlighting child trafficking in Ghana”

Youthful voice: “Spotlighting child trafficking in Ghana”

Michelle Louie
SYLP STUDENT

Michelle Louie

In the world today, about 27 million people are trafficked for prostitution and forced labor. According to recent studies in Ghana alone, about 20 percent of children are engaged in child labor, most of who are captured by Ghanaian fishermen coming from the North Atlantic Ocean. Recently, it was reported that girls from Ghana have been found in Russia living as prostitutes.

We can help diminish these numbers by raising awareness. The issues faced by advocates trying to combat human trafficking in Ghana are due to a lack of funding, lack of unawareness of child labor, and lack of knowledge of the country of Ghana itself.

On average, the typical Ghanaian makes 2,500 U.S. dollars per year. Ghana has one of the highest risks of diseases, with citizens suffering from such ailments as hepatitis, malaria, and rabies.

Many in America do not know anything about Ghana, and advocacy groups have little support there. But by raising awareness of trafficking in Ghana, we can help raise awareness and provide resources to victims of human trafficking.

A simple and easy solution is to donate to charities. Two good ones that I personally suggest are the Polaris Project and World Vision, which help feed hungry children. When families are fed, they are able to concentrate on making enough money to support themselves, rather than finding just enough money to have a small meal.

Instead of getting an education, kids often have to work in order to save their own lives or risk starving to death. The working conditions are terrible for these people who are trafficked and they encounter terrible situations. They are treated like slaves and are willing to do anything to survive. Another solution is education, especially for young women, as it is the time when they are at the highest risk for being trafficked. So help make a small donation, it could help a family keep a loved one. (end)

Editor’s note: This story was written by a Summer Youth Leadership Program student, not a Northwest Asian Weekly staff member. 

Posted in Vol 31 No 35 | 8/25-8/31Comments (1)

Youthful voice: “How to help combat global poverty”

Youthful voice: “How to help combat global poverty”

By Jessica Singh
SYLP student

Jessica Singh

Global poverty is on the rise because food prices are increasing. It is estimated that more than 100 million people may fall into poverty because of the food price increase. More than 3 billion people in the world live on less than $2.50 each day. And more than 22,000 children die every day due to not having enough money to buy food, and more than 200 million children are undernourished. Poverty affects more than 1 billion children in the world.

Poverty can affect education because children might not have enough money to pay for school. Poverty also leads to a lack of medical care. We can help those in need by donating money to foundations like UNICEF, Red Cross, and IPA (Innovations for Poverty Action). Donated money is used to help those who don’t have enough funds to buy necessities like food, clothes, vaccinations, and water filters, among other things.

You don’t necessarily need to donate money. You can also make an impact by helping the nonprofit organizations by volunteering. Volunteering doesn’t mean that you have to go to third world countries. Volunteering can happen locally. You can help to make food or hand out food at the local homeless shelter, or you can hold fundraisers to earn more money to help those in need.

There are more than 2 million homeless people in the United States and 49 million Americans who struggle to put food on their tables. You can also help by informing others about poverty around the world and get them to also help out by donating clothes and shoes that we don’t use any more to give to the poor. Organize a group to help make food for those in need or grow fruits and vegetables to donate, so that those in need can have more healthy food to eat. Another way to help is to write to Congress and advocate for those living in poverty.

More than 1.1 billion people do not have access to a clean water supply, and of those people, 400 million are children. Because of this, millions of people are becoming sick due of unsafe drinking water. We can help by donating water filters or money, so that those in poverty can drink water without fear of getting sick. You can also help by paying micro-payments, which means that you’re paying a small amount of money each month or day to a person of your choice.

These payments can be used to help providing education, vaccinations, food, and clean water. These payments can also help people to get out of poverty. Another great thing about micro-payments is that some of the money can go to the person’s bank account, so that if they have an emergency, like a health issue or their home is destroyed, they can use that money to help themselves.

Micro-payments are easy to do. They now have apps for your phone, so that it can be done quickly and easily. We can all make the world a better place, so let’s start by helping those who don’t have enough money to buy food and other essentials. (end)

Editor’s note: This story was written by a Summer Youth Leadership Program student, not a Northwest Asian Weekly staff member. 

Posted in Vol 31 No 35 | 8/25-8/31Comments (0)

Youthful voice: “Pop culture equals globalization”

Youthful voice: “Pop culture equals globalization”

By Michael Chu
SYLP STUDENT

Michael Chu

Popular culture is everywhere. Generally, it consists of music, fashion, mass media, Internet, and celebrities. Pop culture defines how we dress, how we interact, how we find entertainment, and how we spend our leisure time. It is life.

The influence of culture on globalization affects virtually everyone and signifies the growth of development on a worldwide scale. Extensive interactions and zealous attitudes toward integration of change ultimately define and affect globalization.

Today, the fundamentals of life and culture are significantly different than those of before, all thanks to the invention of social networking and accessibility to instant communication. When a person enters a building, he or she is most likely guaranteed availability of TVs, computers, and even complimentary wi-fi. The Internet is a big factor in our lives. The escalation in the importance of the Internet contributes to the effect of globalization on everyone. It dictates our lives with its enormous influence, affecting our day to day routines.

In this day and age, the Internet is one of the most dramatic influences on pop culture. Since the start of its popularity in the 1990s, the Internet became incorporated into virtually every aspect of modern human life, now reaching a user base of more than 2.3 billion people in the world.

This has brought forth a more culturally interactive world.

We are connected to each other everywhere, anywhere, and at any time. In addition, the Internet has also closed the gap for families separated by distance, connecting individuals. Friends and family can see and talk to each other with one click of a button.

The Internet is also a powerful tool, capable of causing riots, revolts, and rebellion overnight through the vast amount of people. The Arab Spring is accentuated through the means of the Internet, resulting in wide support around the world.

Over the years, the alteration in globalization has demonstrated the influence of popular culture among people in all areas of the world. The process of international integration has always existed, but since the emergence of the Internet, the necessity for globalization has significantly increased. The future will bring unknown effects to culture. The challenge will be to find a balance between the superficial, which is portrayed through the emulation of celebrities and other means through mass media, and reality, which is sought through individuality and not conventionality.

Finally, pop culture symbolizes the globalization in world culture. Everything is interconnected, with young minds and the new generation of people influencing and being influenced by all that is popular culture. (end)

Editor’s note: This story was written by a Summer Youth Leadership Program student, not a Northwest Asian Weekly staff member. 

Posted in Vol 31 No 35 | 8/25-8/31Comments (1)

Youthful voice: “A need for progress in women’s rights”

Youthful voice: “A need for progress in women’s rights”

By Andrea Wong
SYLP STUDENT

Andrea Wong

All over the world and throughout history, females have often been treated as inferior to males. Although we now celebrate National Women History month, there’s still a lack of equality between the sexes.

Currently, both genders are graduating from college at the same rate and more ladies are going into male-dominated fields. There are an increasing number of women who are taking leadership positions. Politically, women are now stepping up to run for presidential elections. Half of all workers in the United States are females.

In the past, females have not had the same rights as men. Women’s views were often less valued in patriarchal societies. In many third world countries, gender bias is still going on. There are stereotypes of women that lead to discrimination.

Females are now allowed to vote, work in improved conditions with higher wages, and are able to get the same level of education and employment opportunities as men. The fact that women are now heard and given equal rights is a great step. On the other hand, women still face inequality in other forms, which I hope will change in the near future. Even today, men are getting paid more than women who have the same jobs and level of education.

I’d like to see a world where men don’t have control over women and where two genders are given the same opportunities. Both males and females should be accepted as having with the same abilities to succeed.

Compared to the past, females have gained much and are treated a lot better. Over time, things have improved, but more can be done to ensure a better future; if women step up, the world could have more gender equality. Although it isn’t perfect for us ladies now, there is still time for things to change, including opportunities for women to live happier and more fulfilled lives. (end)

Editor’s note: This story was written by a Summer Youth Leadership Program student, not a Northwest Asian Weekly staff member. 

Posted in Vol 31 No 35 | 8/25-8/31Comments (0)

Youthful voice: “Middle class crisis”

Youthful voice: “Middle class crisis”

By Alina Huynh
SYLP STUDENT

Alina Huynh

What exactly is the middle class? For almost 50 years, a middle class standard of living in the United States meant having a secure job, a safe and stable home, access to health care, retirement security, time off for vacation, opportunities to save for the future, and the ability to provide a good education, including a college education, for one’s children. In the past, these middle class fundamentals were within reach for most Americans.

Most Americans would identify themselves as middle class.

However, in more recent times, thousands of middle class families are experiencing the squeeze. Despite the fact that their annual income are far above the U.S. median household income, many families feel as through they’re barely scraping by.

I have noticed how the government often forgets about this lower middle class. This is also where my family falls in. My parents’ combined household income places us just above the low-income status they would need to qualify for most government assistance programs, making it hard for my parents to pay for our tuition.

My brother is going off to college next year, while I’m going to attend college in two years. My parents aren’t rich — after helping pay for my brother’s tuition, it will be difficult for them to pay for mine as well. They’re scared of falling into a hole of debt in the future.

The problem is that we don’t qualify for government financial aid, which is very disappointing. The lack of financial assistance for lower middle class families is very disappointing. I want to tell the government, ‘Please don’t forget the middle class!’ There are people who are hardworking, who pay their taxes, and who are U.S. citizens that need help. Even though many are not completely in poverty, it would still be beneficial if they had the money to feel more secure about their future.

While there are good assistance programs, many citizens do not qualify because they are just above the poverty line. I know there are thousands of families out there whose circumstances have drastically changed in recent years and can no longer afford health care or child care. The rich don’t have to worry about making ends meet, while those with lower income have access to government assistance programs to help them out. This leaves the middle class fending for themselves.

The poor economy is threatening many families’ sense of security. Many Asian American families have come to America to provide better opportunities for their sons and daughters, but a shrinking economy makes it hard for these families to fulfill their dreams. The government needs to find a solution for this problem, and a better way to provide for all. (end)

Editor’s note: This story was written by a Summer Youth Leadership Program student, not a Northwest Asian Weekly staff member. 

Posted in Vol 31 No 35 | 8/25-8/31Comments (0)

Youthful voice: “No subtitles, please”

Youthful voice: “No subtitles, please”

Emily Wong

By Emily Wong
SYLP STUDENT

How important is language to culture? Currently, the only language I know is English. Does that mean that nothing separates me from the average American? In order to feel like an Asian American, do I need to be able to speak the language of my parents? Yes. At least for me, absolutely yes.

Due to my mother and father being Japanese and Chinese, respectively, I’ve had the misfortune of not learning either language fluently. Instead, I am only capable of understanding snippets of each and can only respond in short, one word replies. I, unfortunately, did not prioritize learning an Asian language when I was younger. I didn’t care enough about my culture to put effort into the Japanese Language School that I attended. I acknowledge that it’s not too late for me to learn a new language, but to achieve fluency the battle is more uphill now.

I’ve always felt like an outsider looking into Asian culture. My inability to speak an Asian language has made me feel more distant from other Asian Americans. In fact, a good majority of my friends are bilingual and whenever there are multiple people that can speak the same language, they often revert to speaking their own languages.

The benefits of speaking the same language, bringing people together and promoting a sense of community for Asian Americans, is lost when the language is not effectively passed on. That same feeling of being a foreigner arises every time I watch an Asian television show and I don’t understand a thing. I don’t want to need to use subtitles every time I watch an Asian drama.

On a deeper level, not knowing a language also means not being able to fully understand the different facets of a culture.

In Japan, there is a whole system of language style called “keigo” that is completely devoted to honorifics and respectful language. There is no better way to understand the different nuances of the Japanese social system than using and understanding keigo. The language demonstrates a portion of Japanese culture that cannot be explained.

For instance, language is important to humor. I occasionally watch Japanese game shows and even though my mother explains why different speeches or segments are funny, I don’t truly understand the humor.

The one thing that sets me apart from any other American is my appearance. I don’t feel like a true Asian American because I know I could not possibly survive in Asia for long by myself.

I feel as if I am slowly losing my culture as my grandparents get older and I still cannot hold real conversations with them.

I believe that until I learn either Japanese or Chinese, I will not be capable of crossing the line to becoming a true Asian American. (end)

Editor’s note: This story was written by a Summer Youth Leadership Program student, not a Northwest Asian Weekly staff member. 

Posted in Vol 31 No 35 | 8/25-8/31Comments (0)

Youthful voice: “Life as an ESL Asian American”

Youthful voice: “Life as an ESL Asian American”

Eelane Chan

By Eelane Chan
SYLP STUDENT

Growing up as an Asian American, I always struggled with the question, “Am I Asian? Or am I American?”

During my childhood, I struggled with learning English. I often used “Chinglish” words, such as “fire rice,” instead of, “fried rice.” I was made fun of for not speaking English correctly, but that’s OK, because I don’t remember much about being teased, anyway. My teacher placed me in ESL when I was in first grade and my English quickly improved. From then on, I excelled in English, while slowly forgetting the Chinese language.

I also left behind more of my Chinese culture. I wanted to own Barbie dolls and Polly Pockets, eat at McDonalds, and play Connect Four. Even though I attended Chinese school, I half-assed it and never really put my heart into it.

In addition, I also began to forget my traditional values. When my parents burned paper money and told me to pray for ancestors, I stood there with a blank expression, moving my clasped hands up and down to pray for good health and a bright future. I learned a lot of things about my Chinese culture, not from my parents, but from school. It is sad to know that despite being closer to my parents, the source of my knowledge of Chinese culture was largely from school.

As a second-generation Chinese American, I feel burdened because I have to be the first generation to succeed and lead a good life, while balancing Chinese and American customs and traditions.

I had an epiphany during my middle school years when I realized, “Who am I? Why do I try so hard to be American? Why can’t I just love myself for who I am?”

By this time, I forgot a lot of my native language. I could no longer reply to my parents in Cantonese, nor could I understand the more complicated things they said. I regretted it.

I met a lot of “FOBs” (a term for new immigrants or “fresh-off-the-boat”) who came from China, Japan, and Korea. At first, I really liked their fashion, which in my opinion, was more unique than American fashion. I admired their ability to speak their mother language so well, despite coming to a country where their language isn’t commonly spoken. I felt inferior to them. I hated being stuck between two cultures, despite the fact that my American side influences me more.

I recently tried to make more earnest efforts to embrace my Asian identity by speaking to my parents in Cantonese. I also tried to watch more Chinese dramas and listen to Chinese music. I recently learned that it’s not just me who struggles living as an Asian American. New immigrants also struggle with the influences of dual cultures. After participating in the Northwest Asian Weekly’s Summer Youth Leadership Program, I’ve realized the advantages and disadvantages of being Asian American, while learning about the opportunities that we have.  (end)

Editor’s note: This story was written by a Summer Youth Leadership Program student, not a Northwest Asian Weekly staff member. 

Posted in Vol 31 No 35 | 8/25-8/31Comments (0)

Youthful voice: “Language barrier”

Youthful voice: “Language barrier”

Jennifer Wong

By Jennifer Wong
SYLP STUDENT

Thinking back to my childhood, I realize that I was a very naturally curious kid. Questions ranged from the origins of life to why the sky is blue, and reasons why we celebrate strange holidays that I hardly ever hear other kids talk about. Though my mother and father did not always have the knowledge to answer all of my questions, they taught me about Chinese culture, which in turn gave them a moment of peace and quiet before I asked them questions about something else.

However, now that I’m older, my curiosity has shifted to thinking about what my future will hold. The thing that scares me most about the four big milestones in life is the thought of having children. What happens if I don’t have the answers to their questions?

Nowadays, much can be learned in school or through the media, but family still plays a large role in teaching children, primarily about things regarding culture and values. Being a second-generation Chinese American, my parents had a solid knowledge of Chinese culture because they grew up in Hong Kong.

For every instance that I have asked about why we eat the foods we eat, or how to say certain words in Cantonese, I always received a quick and concise answer. I managed to learn almost everything I currently know about my heritage just through conversations with my parents around the dinner table or on long car rides. But my knowledge of Chinese culture is nowhere near the knowledge that my parents possess. If it really takes that much knowledge to pass on a sliver of it to the next generation, what could I possibly teach my own children?

Growing up in Seattle, I didn’t have much of a chance to familiarize myself with my ancestral homelands in Guangdong province and Hong Kong. Even though English is supposed to be my second language, I never had any recollection of struggling with English, as opposed to Cantonese. To many of my fellow second-generation Chinese American friends, we do not actually speak Chinese. Instead, we speak “Chinglish,” the awkward combination of English words and phrases mixed in with broken Chinese. Barely able to read and write Chinese characters, I can already sense my impending failure when trying to teach my children of their native tongue.

While eavesdropping on my mother’s phone call with a friend, they discussed the fate of her future grandson. For over an hour, they noted the pros and cons of having the grandson live in China for the first few years of his life as opposed to living in America, so he can get an early grasp of learning Chinese. Another idea my mother came up with was limiting future spouse candidates to those who were born and raised in China.

Still, regardless of these possible scenarios, I hope to be able to pass as much of my culture on to my progeny. Cultural background is what sets immigrant families apart from everybody else in this country, so I want to make sure not to lose it. (end)

Editor’s note: This story was written by a Summer Youth Leadership Program student, not a Northwest Asian Weekly staff member. 

Posted in Vol 31 No 35 | 8/25-8/31Comments (0)

Page 112

Community Calendar

Weekly E-Newsletter

READ NWAW ONLINE!

Do you like us?

Photos on flickr